RICE Score: A Prioritization Framework for Product Managers to Estimate Value
RICE Score prioritization frameworks can be thought of as guiding principles used to identify the following tasks the team needs to focus on.
Not every item on the to-do list is essential to the product’s success.
As a product manager, it is your goal to identify tasks that contribute the most to the team’s success.
Back in the day, project managers might have been more inclined to use their intuition and experience to identify critical tasks.
But thanks to years of research, development, along with trial and error, managers have many frameworks that help eliminate the guesswork from their duties.
Why do Product Managers Need a Prioritization Framework?
Businesses need certainty.
With all the volatility a product is exposed to, internal or external, managers are demanded to perform a delicate balancing act.
Having a framework brings structure to unstructured things. Product managers can make more informed decisions by using prioritization frameworks.
Managers might have to face hesitation and concerns from their teammates if they act upon what they think is right without any guidelines.
Prioritization frameworks help to get everyone on the same page. They allow people to overcome their biases and work towards the collective success of the project.
What is the RICE Score?
RICE score is a prioritization framework. Its origins lie with Sean McBride, who was a product manager at Intercom.
It stands for Reach, Impact, Confidence, and Effort.
The RICE score is a simple prioritizing framework that product managers can use to determine the probable value of a task or initiative on the product.
Other popular prioritization frameworks include Opportunity scoring, the MoSCOW method, Kano Model, etc.
Before you start calculating your Rice Score, you will need to set a time frame for each task. How long will it take for you to accomplish different tasks for your project?
After deciding the timeframe, you can move on to quantify the different RICE components.
Reach gives you an idea of how many people will benefit from the completion of a task.
Reach depends on the context of the project and can change. Reach can also be thought of as the net benefit to your product.
Your Reach can be ten if you aim to convert ten people for every 100 people that come to your landing page. Reach is subjective and can be determined by past instances or data gained from competitors.
Impact can be thought of as the influence the current task will have on an individual. Impact is difficult to categorize.
The team at Intercom decided to limit Impact to five scores.
3 is for massive impact.
2 is high for impact.
1 is medium for impact.
0.5 is low for impact.
0.25 is minimal for impact.
Confidence is the surety you have that you will obtain desirable results after completing the current task.
Instead of worrying about percentages, Confidence should be divided into four categories.
High or 100% means that you have data that assures you that things will go according to plan.
Medium or 80%means that you have some idea that the task will be beneficial, but a few concerns need to be ironed out.
Low or 50% means that you are no really confident about how the current task will impact the flow of the project. More data or insights are needed.
Any task with a Confidence of below 50% should be sidelined in most cases.
Effort is the work that your team in its entirety will have to put in to complete the task within the timeframe.
Effort can be measured in a similar way to Reach. You will need to estimate the number of people and the time it will take to complete the task.
How to Calculate the RICE Score?
Calculating the RICE score is easy.
All you need to do is to multiply the Reach, Impact, and Confidence. And then divide the result by the effort. This will give you the RICE score.
Generally, you would want to focus on tasks with a higher RICE score, but this is not always the case. Sometimes, a job with a lower RICE score needs to be prioritized as another component of the project depends on it.
The RICE framework should be used as a guideline and not as a definitive answer to all of your problems.
Benefits of the RICE Framework:
Rice prioritization has three significant benefits. They are:
By using RICE scoring, product managers can make better decisions. They have a clearer picture of the current scenario and all of the variables involved.
Any decision made using RICE will be a much better choice than deciding something based on your emotions and personal understanding of the situation.
Minimize personal bias.
Personal bias is a big issue when different people work together.
Culture, habits, vision, etc., all have a part to play when group members voice their opinions. These can naturally impact the decisions made by the product manager or the group as a collective.
The RICE framework helps eliminate personal biases that make building a product less stressful for all parties. Since the decisions are made because some metrics show it’s the right choice, reservations and objections are minimized.
Protect the priorities decided.
It is often costly to go back on a decision. It costs time, labor, materials, and even employee satisfaction.
Upper management needs to be pleased with the progress of the product. Usually, they might have some suggestions that can cause unwanted delays and hinder the current direction.
Product managers can use RICE prioritization to highlight to the management that the most essential and critical business component is being worked on. This will give upper management some assurance with regards to the current status of the product.
How can Product Managers Use the RICE Score to Estimate Value?
Estimating value derived from a particular part of a project can be tricky. After all, how do you put a value on something that has yet to contribute something to the project?
Product managers can use the RICE score to get a fairly decent idea about the importance of a particular task in a given product.
They can then use this information to set a list of tasks based on priorities. The most prioritized tasks are completed first, and the others follow.
RICE prioritization or RICE score is a popular framework that product managers can use to bring stability and surety to their product planning and execution.
By correctly calculating the RICE score, managers can prioritize the most beneficial tasks for the product’s success.
By doing so, personal bias is eliminated, upper management and stakeholders are happy, and the project moves more coherently.
Indeed, the RICE framework is something that all product managers need to check out and try to apply to their current work.